Bookish Dreams Come True

Sometimes dreams do come true. But mostly they’re made up of hard work, struggles, perseverance, and maybe a little bit of luck. But when they happen, they’re breathtaking and magical moments.

I don’t often say it, or even really think it – maybe because I feel I could always be doing more – but here it goes… deep breath…  I am proud of myself.

Whew, that takes a little (okay, a lot) for me to say that. Is it too pompous, too arrogant, too much? Too bad. I am. And it’s not something I’ve ever really been able to really say about many things in my life. And it feels fabulous.

This year hasn’t all been all sunshine and rainbows though. There have been some incredibly tough moments in various spaces in my life, particularly when my health hasn’t been cooperating, but there have been good, great, magnificent, and incredible moments, and those are the ones to hold onto. And sometimes I need a little reminder, so I made a little list…

In the last year or so…

  • I married the man of my dreams, planned our wedding, and planned a book release within two months of each other – last winter and spring was pretty much mayhem.
  • I finished “my” book. I FINISHED MY BOOK!
  • I published said book. I PUBLISHED A BOOK!
  • I’ve met incredible people – Chick Lit Goddesses, my Toronto writers crew, and all the new friends I’ve made, THANK YOU for making me feel less insane!
  • I secured a new job with my dream hours of four days a week, leaving me one day just for me and my writing (okay, mostly for writing. Sometimes I run errands – BAD LYDIA, BAD! But really, the lineup at Costco is so much less painful on Fridays.)
  • I’ve sold books! I have actually sold more than I ever thought possible in my first year, and while I’m not on any bestseller lists, I’m incredibly pleased and grateful to everyone who has picked it up.
  • People actually like my book! Positive reviews are out there. And they’re not by my mom. Promise.
  • I planned and attended BookBuzz Toronto last fall with author Samantha Stroh Bailey and book blogger Kaley Stewart, to great success.

And now for the biggie, the one I’m super excited about right now and uber-proud of:

Ever since I found out about BEA as a book blogger five years ago I’ve dreamed of attending, of wandering around the exhibits surrounded by books and gaping at my favourite authors as they speak and sign their book babies. But now? Now I’m attending having written my own book baby!

I never believed this would happen. Ever. And it wasn’t even in the plan until about a month ago. But now, here I am, packing my bags and attempting to cram in as many copies of Redesigning Rose as possible. I am traveling to NYC, a city I absolutely adore.  I’m going to meet other authors and book bloggers I’ve chatted with online for years. YEARS! And I’m a part of BookBuzz2014, a fabulous event for women’s fiction authors – RSVP to bookbuzz2013@gmail.com if you don’t want to miss the bookish party of the year!

It’s going to be an incredible experience – all of it.

This is also my first solo trip. Which is awesome, and wee bit nerve-wracking, and something I will now be able to check off my bucket list. And it’s a little ironic that I finally watched the video below this morning after seeing it posted all over Facebook for weeks.

So, I give you these two fabulous seventy-year-old ladies flying for the first time in case you missed it the other million times it was posted all over the interwebs.

You only get one life. Conquer your fears and make your own dreams come true.

 

 

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Fab Book Friday

Have you read a fabulous book lately that you can’t stop thinking about and talking about and are dying for more people to read?

Join me over on Twitter for Fab Book Friday and recommend it some more!

Share your most recent favourite read or share an old book love with the hashtag #fabbookfriday. Add a few words and link it to a review you’re written or to Amazon or both if space allows. Add the author. Tag the publisher. Get creative. Just use the hashtag #fabbookfriday.

Come celebrate your favourite books and find another fabulous reads!

Happy Reading!

Lydia

Gardening Grannies and Magnificent Mom

Redesigning Rose’s dedication is:

“To my Mom, Granny and Granny, the three strongest women I’ve known.”

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Left to right – Granny at the Lake, Me, Mom, Granny Down the Street

There are thousands of ways these three women have influenced my life, and I can’t even begin to think of who I would have become without them. And one such way is with gardening so I shouldn’t have been so surprised when Redesigning Rose ended up having such a heavy gardening theme.

Granny at the Lake (read this post for the Granny/Granny explanation) was the heaviest gardener of us all. She was president of her local horticultural society and had at least eight garden beds – none of them small. And when my brothers and I spent what we hoped would be lazy summer days at her house on Lake Simcoe every summer, we were always out of luck. She woke us up at 6:00am to weed her gardens. I kid you not. Every morning unless there was a storm brewing we were out there batting away mosquitoes and yanking out as much clover, dandelions and creeping Charlie as our tiny hands could grasp. And her gardens were somehow continuously clustered with weeds no matter how much we clutched and clawed at them. All we wanted to do was go fishing. It’s a bit miraculous that I ended up loving gardening after all that. Weeding the gardens though is another story altogether though. It’s a fond memory now (mostly) and I’d give anything to be able to plop down beside her in the garden and yank out some weeds while chatting.

Granny Down the Street also had her own beautiful gardens that we plodded around in and plucked flowers from. We also watched as her and my grandfather cultivated a large vegetable garden at the “farm” – not a real farm, but a second property they spent summers at an hour away from the city. Grandpa also tended to apple trees, a cherry tree and dozens of fruit bearing bushes containing gooseberries, raspberries, black and red currants. I grew up watching the satisfaction of growing your own fruits and vegetables and have carried that forward through years of growing my own vegetable gardens.

My mom also had elaborate gardens lush with colour and scent for every season. She gave us each a little patch when we were small to plant something and take care of it. I grew strawberries and loved watching them sprout off another shoot and root and grow. Her gardens were luscious and gorgeous to look at, and we helped her along the way, but I think it was her sanctuary, a slice of peace each summer which must have been rare raising three young children.

Right now my own garden grows slowly one year at a time. The house my husband and I currently reside in is a temporary home, and we are reluctant to throw a lot of money and energy into something we may leave soon. This makes me sad sometimes, but I still love puttering around outside, planting small seedlings in the spring and watching them grow. I love the peace I feel in the garden and the creativity it sparks in me. At the cottage things are a little different as we do have a large vegetable garden and nothing brings me more satisfaction than walking outside and gathering everything we need for a meal.

Here are a few photos of our vegetable garden and its bounty and one of an interesting cucumber we managed to grow… and if you love gardening, or even just like it a bit or are thinking about giving it a whirl, check out Redesigning Rose.

 

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Cottage Garden

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One of our more interesting accidental creations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like to party? Hop along the Hump Day Blog Hop on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog. Click here to return to the Hump Day Blog Hop.

Writing Tips I’ve Learned from Watching Soap Operas

Flopping down on the couch to catch up on with my soap folks at the end of the day isn’t high on my priority list. I do, however, still enjoy watching batches of episodes while working on Novel Escapes, my blog, or whatever marketing and chit chat I’m doing online. I’ve watched General Hospital for close to thirty years and have watched various soaps since I was in diapers with Granny and Granny. Yes, they both wanted to be named Granny. Confusing to mini-people, my brothers and I labeled them Granny Down The Street and Granny At The Lake based on where they lived, and it stuck until I was thirty and Granny at the Lake left this world.

 

Granny at the Lake and Lydia - Val's Wedding2

Granny at the Lake

Lydia and Granny Down the Street

Granny Down the Street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My maternal granny, Granny Down The Street, called them her “stories” and watched As The World Turns and Guiding Light which she sadly outlived both of. My paternal grandmother, Granny At The Lake, called them her ‘soaps’ and watched Another World and General Hospital. I’ve watched all of these at one point or another with them, sometimes cuddled on the couch, sometimes lying on the floor with my feet kicked up in the air while reading a book, and very often baking cookies in Granny At The Lake’s small kitchen with her tiny black and white TV crammed on the corner counter. To this day, I love cooking and baking when there’s a television nearby to watch, particularly soap operas. Fond memories die hard.

I’ve seen it all over the years from the devil (during a very brief stint with Days Of Our Lives in university) to mobsters to hundreds of characters risen from the dead. It’s all very implausible yet I keep watching. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the tie to my grannies or maybe it’s that watching all the drama can make you feel better about your own life when it’s not where you want it. Maybe I just want background noise and something I don’t have to pay close attention to.

A soap opera is the first thing I ever tried writing that I can remember. I was thirteen. Determined, I hammered away on the ancient typewriter we had – yes, I am that old. I find it very odd now how I thought I could do this. But now that I am older and have some experience with life, I find I can actually write about it.

Here are a few lessons I’ve learned about writing based on my soap opera watching:

  • Repetition is bad. Soap operas are the worst for this. I often refrain from whipping my converter at the television when it occurs. But I get it. They’re looking for a new audience and often have to explain things should someone new be watching. This isn’t needed in novels, however. No one is picking up a book at page 113 wondering what happened before that point. Just a nudge of memory here or there should suffice if drudging up something a reader might not remember immediately.
  • Keep things interesting and moving. No one likes to watch/read the same thing droned on and on about – part of the reason I’ve stuck with General Hospital is that their plot actually moves along at a quick clip. You can tune out for six months and come back having (almost) no clue what’s going on.
  • Interesting characters are move fun to watch/read.
  • Cliché and one dimensional characters are boring to watch/read.
  • Make things believable – and if they aren’t you better have a good reason for it happening.
  • Tension should fluctuate. Too much and it becomes unbearable, too little and it becomes boring.

Have you ever found writing tips in unusual places?

Redesigning Rose Blog Tour

Hello, hello! I just wanted to put together a page that shows all my blog tour stops and links to the interviews and reviews. I also wanted to let you all know about the fabulous $50.00 Amazon Gift Certificate I’m giving away as part of the tour.

Please stop by the various blogs to peruse my thoughts on the important things like what the best piece of advice I ever received was, who my literary crush is, and what drink gets me the most tipsy. There will be excerpts and hopefully a few good reviews *resumes nail nibbling*.  There will even be a deleted scene posted! More Frank anyone?

Thank you to Samantha March at CLP Blog Tours for putting together this marvelous tour! And thank you to all the wonderful bloggers who have participated and hosted me along the way.

Chick Lit Goddess – Q&A & Excerpt 

Change the Word – Review & Excerpt 

Storm Goddess Book Reviews  – Review & Excerpt

May 6 – Chick Lit Plus – Novel Spotlight

May 8 – Crooks on Books  – Review

May 9 – Karen’s Korner  – Review

May 14 – Sweets Books – Excerpt

May 14 – Eat Write Love  – Novel Spotlight & Q&A

May 15 – Julie Valerie’s Book Blog  – Review & Q&A

May 16 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Deleted Scene & Excerpt

May 19 – Fiction Dreams  – Q&A

May 20 – Little Whimsy Books – Review & Excerpt

May 21 – Book Reviews and More by Kathy – Review

May 21 – Books à la Mode – Excerpt & Giveaway

May 22 – Books in the Burbs – Review & Excerpt

May 24 – Sammy the Bookworm – Excerpt

May 26 – The Book Geek Wears Pajamas – Review & Excerpt

ENTER TO WIN $50.00 AMAZON GIFT CERTIFICATE